Breaking LGBTQ Stereotypes One Book at a Time

Breaking LGBTQ Stereotypes One Book at a Time

Spirited, fun and always a joy to talk with, we sat down with Nanishka Torres, author of The Prince.

Nanishka was inspired to write The Prince when she noticed a lack of positive LGBTQ books in the literary world. She felt it necessary to write a love story between two men that did not focus on their coming to terms with their sexuality. She wanted a story that showed the love between men with conflicts coming from other sources other than their sexual orientation.

The Prince is a fantasy novel that takes place in a kingdom called Finrir. Prince Callum is loved by his people and rules his kingdom with peace and justice. Lorkan, Prince Callum’s partner, is kidnapped by a radical religious group and the story unfolds.

Q. If you could give your book to one celebrity, who would it be and why?

A. Humorously, I’ve already given my book to a celebrity: Sebastian Stan. I based the character of Lorkan on Sebastian Stan. He is such a kindhearted person, as well as a person with conviction, and I kept him in mind as I wrote Lorkan.

Q. If you could give your book to one singer/musician, who would it be and why?

A. I would give The Prince to Henry Jackman. He composed the soundtracks to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War”, and I absolutely love the way he supports the story with his compositions. I would love to hear what music comes to his mind while reading the book.

Q. If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why?

A. Sebastian Stan to play Lorkan, of course. I also had James McAvoy in my mind as I wrote Rhett Ryckoff, and he would portray him magnificently. Jesse Williams or Aubrey Joseph (when he’s holder) would both be perfect as Callum, and Gabrielle Union is my ideal Queen Thestera.

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

A. The core message is that we will all do just about anything for those we love. I wanted to portray the love shared among these characters at equal levels to emphasize that we all love the same: gay, straight, bisexual, male, female, non-binary, trans, whatever, love is universal and has no boundaries. It isn’t more powerful when between a heterosexual couple than a homosexual one. It isn’t more powerful between romantic love than familial love or friendship love.

Q. Recommend a book from another author. Why should people read this book?

A. I just finished “Beat the Reaper” by Josh Bazell. It’s a really fun read with a main character you like straight from the beginning. I also recommend “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith. I absolutely love how well he wove history with fantasy, making all of the supernatural elements sound plausible.

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Q. Star Wars or Star Trek?

A. Star Wars

Q. Guardians of the Galaxy or X-Men?

A. X-Men

Q. Kittens or puppies?

A. Puppies

Q. Ninja or pirates?

A. Ninja

Q. Reading or writing?

A. Writing

Q. Marvel or DC?

A. Marvel

Q. Coachella or Broadway?

A. Broadway

Q. The ability to fly or mind reading?

A. Ability to fly

Q. Miley or Selena?

A. Miley

Q. E.L. James or J.K. Rowling?

A. J.K. Rowling

Q. Meat or Veggies?

A. Meat

Order a copy on Amazon

Empowering Women to Rise-Up

Empowering Women to Rise-Up

A one-on-on with Raye Mitchell, author of How Women Negotiate From a Position of Strength.

Raye Mitchell, author How Women Negotiate From a Position of Strength, is on a mission to inspire women.  Mitchell is committed to helping women, particularly, young black women and girls, assert their power and better themselves.  For far too long the voices of women have been muted, their stories ignored, and their experiences dismissed.  Mitchell wants to help women find peace and common ground based on mutual respect and equality.

How Women Negotiate From a Position of Strength is an easy to follow, quick read. Complete with a step-by-step guide and an interactive work journal so the reader can instantly begin to blend thoughts and observations into an accountability plan with the insights captured in the book.

The book focuses on how to enhance negotiations with personal branding. Whether you are a woman making a decision early in your career, a mid-level manager, or a rising executive, How Women Negotiate From a Position of Strength helps you to master your rise-up in leadership.

Raye Mitchell inspired us, making us wanting to learn more.

 

Q. Why should people read your books?

A. I write about useable knowledge drawn from our common experiences as women, women of color and Black women.

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world?

A. We are connected by our ability to build peace, find equality and be prepared to overcome set-backs and disappointments.

Q. What advice do you have for young black women and girls?

A. You are highly regarded, above average and brilliant contributing leaders designing a more better human condition of excellence. To beat the odds, be agile, be fair and be prepared to build bridges outside your comfort zones.

Q. What was the most rewarding part of doing what you do?

A. I love the prospects of helping someone get unstuck, breakdown barriers and personal obstacles to their personal success. I am a champion for hope and opportunity for all.

Q. Recommend a book from another author. Why should people read this book?

A. Standing Up After Saigon: The Triumphant Story of Hope, Determination, and Reinvention. Sharon Orlopp and Thuhang Tran.

This book inspires us all to hold on to what makes America work-diversity, inclusion, empathy and respect and not division, separation and isolation.

 

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Q.  Meat or Veggies?

A. Veggies

Q. The beach or the mountains?

A. BEACH

Q. Formal attire or yoga pants and a hoodie?

A. Yoga Pants

Q. Kittens or puppies?

A. Puppies

Q. Ninja or pirates?

A. Ninja

Q. Coachella or Broadway?

A. Broadway

Q. Selfie or group photo?

A. Selfie

Q. Alice in Wonderland or Lord of the Flies?

A. Alice in Wonderland

Q. Beyonce or Selena?

A. Beyonce

Q. Hardcover book or Kindle?

A. Hardcover book

Order your copy now on Amazon

Steampunk is all the Rage

Steampunk is all the Rage

Gabbing with author Laurel Anne Hill about her steampunk novel, The Engine Woman’s Light

Laurel Anne Hill is the author of the award-winning steampunk novel, The Engine Woman’s Light. The story is set in an alternate 19th century California where steampunk and spirits are the new norm. A young Latina spiritualist is given a mission by her ancestors to save the lives of unwanted passangers on a train headed for misery.  Mysticism and adventure, the alternate reality of the novel incorporates Mexican and Native American cultures with steampunk enchantment.

 

Laurel drew inspiration for the novel from her own love for family, brushes with death, and belief in a higher power.  Step onboard the locomotive as we gab with the author of this exciting tale.

 

Q. What is something interesting/cool/unbelievable you discovered while researching your book?

A. I learned that my paternal Mexican great-grandmother, Hipolita Orendein de Medina, had been politically active, even in her teens. I also learned how to run a steam locomotive.

Q. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

A. I’m not sure about classical ghosts, but there are spirits out there. The spirit of my deceased husband, David, has made himself known to me upon a number of occasions.

Q. If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why?

A. Hollywood isn’t known for its plethora of young Latina stars. Can anyone figure out how to call up the spirit of Selena Quintanilla-Perez? She might have some suggestions.

Q. Tell us something about you that no one else knows.

A. As a young child, I used to torture ants when they invaded the bathroom. Then I’d cry and apologize to their dead bodies.

Q. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but are afraid to?

A. For many years, I wanted to try sky diving. Fortunately, I grew out of the impulse before I grasped the opportunity to break every bone in my body.

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Wars

The beach or the mountains?

The beach

Marvel or DC?

Marvel

Zombies or aliens?

Aliens

Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter?

Harry Potter

London or Istanbul?

London

Selfie or group photo?

Group Photo

Kanye West or Taylor Swift?

May I ignore both of them?

Evening gown or yoga pants and a hoodie?

Evening gown

Cats or dogs?

Dogs

Find your copy of The Engine Woman’s Light on Amazon. 

America, Land of the Time Travelers?

America, Land of the Time Travelers?

An insight into the motivation behind the all-American book, Journeyman.

Mark Rose, author of Journeyman, has a fascination with the challenges humanity faces as technology rapidly evolves and interacts with science and society.  Rose goes back to a simpler time – colonial America – to take a look at America’s beginnings and the people who helped build our nation. During a tumultuous time in present-day American politics, Journeyman paints a refreshingly optimistic picture of America’s future using the colors of its past. Just in time for the 4th of July!

Mark Rose is the author of the new series Matt Miller in the Colonies. Journeyman, book one of the two book series, tells the tale of a 21st century man who time travels to colonial America only to find himself trapped, unable to return home. Now he must learn the skills required to survive in the new world as he gains the trust and friendship of his colonial brethren.

 

Q. Your genre, time travel/sci-fi, is popular right now, why do you think that is?

A. We are all fascinated with having the power to travel back in time and fix our mistakes, or to know the future so that we can prepare. Humans are the only creatures on the planet that sense time. As a scientist, I believe there is more to time than just its tendency to pass, and that our minds are just on the very edge of comprehending this other dimension. When humans sense that something is possible, they usually find a way to make it happen. We will eventually master time travel because we’re motivated by a deep emotional need. Until then, we’ll live our time-travel fantasies through good stories.

 

Q.  What is something interesting/cool/unbelievable you discovered while researching your book?

A. There are a number of phrases that we use today that have their origin in colonial times. One example is the phrase “saved by the bell.” I always thought this had something to do with modern boxing, but it actually comes from the fact that people were sometimes accidently buried alive in the eighteenth century. Because of this, they began tying a string to people’s wrists before they were buried and they would run the string to a bell on the ground of the cemetery. If you woke up in your coffin and pulled the string, you were known as a “dead ringer.” The people they hired to sit in the cemetery and listen for ringing bells worked the “graveyard shift.” Their job, then, would be to dig you up as quickly as possible. That’s cool stuff.

 

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

A. I want people to resist the temptation to try to judge colonial Americans based on the standards of today. These were good people and they were very progressive for their time in history. Colonial Americans created a system of government that hasn’t been fundamentally improved since the writing of the Constitution in 1787. Granted, it took a while for us to realize their dream of equal rights for everyone and we may still not be there, but that shouldn’t detract from their legacy. The United States has pulled more people out of poverty and tyranny than any society in the history of the world, and we owe it all to colonial America. Our first feeling towards our founders should be awe, plain and simple.

 

Q. What book haven’t you read that you know you must?

A. I’m halfway through “Crime and Punishment.” I set it down and never finished. Also, I bought a copy of “The Origins and History of Consciousness” by Erich Neumann. He was a student of Carl Jung. I’m hoping both books will help me sort out human emotion and motivation. I’d like to use this information in my writing as well as a way to help me understand the increasing negativity in US politics. We live in the greatest society the world has ever seen and have historically low poverty rates, yet it feels like we’ve become more and more miserable. What does it take for a society to be optimistic and happy?

 

Q. What advice do you have for other writers?

A. 1. Plan a time to write and then sit there and write, whether you feel like it or not. I’ve heard a number of successful writers say that they’ve done their best work in those times when they have felt the least inspired.

 

  1. There is no good writing, only good rewriting. It’s a lot more fun, too.

 

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Q. Guardians of the Galaxy or XMen?

A. Guardians of the Galaxy

Q. The beach or the mountains?

A. Mountains

Q. Zombies or aliens?

A. Zombies

Q. Sponge Bob Square Pants or Bugs Bunny?

A. Bugs Bunny

Q. Coachella or Broadway?

A. Coachella

Q. Chess or Candy Crush?

A. Chess

Q. Invisibility or mind reading?

A. Invisibility

Q. London or Istanbul?

A. London

Q. Hippies or hipsters?

A. Hippies

Q. Reading or writing?

A. Writing

Bringing awareness to Mental Illness, One Laugh at a Time

Bringing awareness to Mental Illness, One Laugh at a Time

A Chat with Laurie Finkelstein, Author of Next Therapist Please

Next Therapist Please was inspired by author Laurie Finkelstein’s real-life events and struggles. Laurie weaves her personal experiences with mental illness into her hilarious, sidesplitting story. Grab a cocktail and enjoy this one-on-one chat with Laurie.

The novel tells the story of Janie, a free spirit and endearing main character who marches to the beat of her own drum. Janie has passed through so many therapist offices she cannot keep track, so she has started referring to each therapist by number. While some have helped Janie, others were duds. Janie recalls her experiences with a cocktail in one hand and a paint brush in the other.

Awesome fact about Laurie: She is so passionate about bringing awareness to mental illness, that she donates 10% of each book sale to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

 

Q: If you could give your book to one celebrity, who would it be and why?

A: Ellen DeGeneres. She would love the book and want to bring me on as a guest to talk about breaking the stigma of mental health one laugh at a time. All audience members would receive the book, and Ellen would bring out a big check donation to NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness. I donate 10% of my sales of Next Therapist Please to NAMI. With the rash of celebrity suicides it is essential we reach as many people as possible to give a message of hope.

Q: What advice would you give to Janie in your book and why?

A: Embrace and love herself for who she is despite her challenges. To be gentle and kind with her when depression or anxiety intrudes her day. Janie needs to know her mental illness does not make her less of a person. Learn and practice mindfulness, which will help manage her illnesses more effectively. I need to take that advice LOL!

Q: If your book were turned into a film/TV show, whom would you tap to play Janie? Why?

A: Leslie Mann is my ideal Janie. She has great comedic timing and plays tragedy really well. Love her voice and look.

Q: What three books are on your To Be Read list this summer?

A: LOL – that’s like choosing your three favorite Jelly Belly combinations. Checked by Jennifer Jamelli, Hypnotic Seduction by L.L. Kellogg, and Baker’s Dozen by Autumn Doerr are three of many.

Q: What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

A: I want to champion the underdogs, the leftovers. I want to be an example of successful living with mental illness in all its messy roadblocks and detours. I want to help people talk about mental illness openly and freely. I want to raise awareness and money for research and treatment of the mentally ill.

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Q: Guardians of the Galaxy or XMen?

A: XMen

Q: Meat or Veggies?

A: Veggies

Q: The beach or the mountains?

A: Beach

Q: Kittens or puppies?

A: Kittens

Q: Ninja or pirates?

A: Pirates

Q: Selfie or group photo?

A: Group Photo

Q: E.L. James or J.K. Rowling?

A: J.K. Rowling

Q: London or Istanbul?

A: London

Q: Hippies or hipsters?

A: Hippies

Q: Miley or Selena?

A: Selena

Want more? Grab the novel on Amazon!

How Cozy Do You Want It?

How Cozy Do You Want It?

A Look Inside the Mind Behind the Break-Out Cozy Summer Mystery: Baker’s Dozen

Autumn Doerr is the author of the must-read summer mystery novel, Baker’s Dozen: A Lexi Fagan Mystery. The book was inspired by a real fire she witnessed in San Francisco in the 80s. That experience evolved into the first book in the series. It makes for the idea summer book.

The book tells the story of Lexi after she moves to San Francisco and lands a job working at a local bakery. Tragedy strikes when her lover, who is also a firefighter, turns up dead in a devastating fire. Suddenly, she’s caught up in the murder investigation and begins to uncover secrets that could get her killed.

Q: What makes your book a must-read?

A: If you enjoy a good mystery, can appreciate an old-fashioned bakery and get a kick out of San Francisco, or have always wanted to visit, “Baker’s Dozen” is for you.

Q: What is something interesting/cool/unbelievable you discovered while researching your book?

A: For opera buffs, before the 1983 Fall season, there were no English supertitles at the San Francisco Opera. La Traviata, the opera that’s in the book, was the opera that popularized the practice. (Hint: there are supertitles at the La Traviata, in “Baker’s Dozen”.)

And for those of you into more gruesome research: The inciting event in my mystery book is a fire at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco. I witnessed this fire in 1983 and, over 20 years later, it sparked the idea for my mystery book. Through research, I discovered that the December 18th fire had taken two people’s lives and prompted Mayor Diane Feinstein to require sprinklers be installed, along with smoke alarms, in all hotels to bring them up to code. At the time, I didn’t even know two people had been killed as a result of the fire.

Q: If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why?

A: For some reason, Rooney Mara comes to mind for the main character, Lexi Fagan. She has such a range and looks very young. She can play naive and smart, not a combination you see too often. Denzel Washington for Detective Robert Reiger, of course; though he doesn’t have a big part in Book 1, he does play a larger role in the second book that I hope to publish later this year. In case Mr. Washington is busy, hem hem, I also think Donald Faison from Scrubs or Cedric Yarbrough (Reno 911 and Speechless) would also be smashing.

Q: Tell us something about you that no one else knows.

A: I can tap dance (barely) and love to cut a rug on the dance floor to early disco.

Q: Recommend a book that is similar to yours. If people like X, then they’ll love your book because…

A: If you like Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series, you’ll like “Baker’s Dozen.” Grafton’s novels are known for their interesting, and often older, characters. Her descriptions of the fictional town of Santa Teresa ground her stories so you feel as if you’re there. I tried to do the same thing with descriptions of my beloved San Francisco. And, finally, Grafton protagonist, Kinsey Millhone, gets caught up in a lot of hairy situations; something that Lexi Fagan has a habit of doing.

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Q: Meat or Veggies?

A: Meat

 

Q: Kanye West or Taylor Swift?

A: Taylor

 

Q: Coachella or Broadway?

A: Broadway

 

Q: Selfie or group photo?

A: Group photo

 

Q: Hardcover book or Kindle?

A: Hardcover

 

Q: Chess or Candy Crush?

A: Chess

 

Q: Cookies or cake?

A: Cake

 

Q: Firefighters or cowboys?

A: Firefighters

 

Q: E.L. James or J.K. Rowling?

A: J.K. Rowling

 

Q: Kittens or puppies?

A: Kittens AND puppies!

Bakers Dozen, Cozy Mystery BookReady to unravel this tasty mystery for yourself? Find the book on Amazon.